Windows updates are a necessary evil for PC owners, which often result in the computer rebooting to successfully apply said update. With Windows 10, this is generally done automatically—and annoyingly.
This is one of the more crucial pain points in the life of a PC user, as losing work when the PC decides it’s time to reboot is a real issue. But Microsoft is using machine learning to find a fix that will prevent PCs from installing updates (and rebooting) while the computer is in use.
To combat this issue, Microsoft has been testing a new system that uses a predictive model to learn when devices aren’t in use. So instead of applying an update while the user is currently working, it will effectively check to see if the device is in use—even going as far as to understand when the uses has just stepped away for a few minutes and will likely return. From the announcement post:
Have you ever had to stop what you were doing, or wait for your computer to boot up because the device updated at the wrong time? We heard you, and to alleviate this pain, if you have an update pending we’ve updated our reboot logic to use a new system that is more adaptive and proactive. We trained a predictive model that can accurately predict when the right time to restart the device is. Meaning, that we will not only check if you are currently using your device before we restart, but we will also try to predict if you had just left the device to grab a cup of coffee and return shortly after.
Microsoft is said to have been using this new system internally with “promising results.” and it’s also now live for Insiders testing the newest Windows build (19H1).
While having your PC learn when you’re using it is nice, you can achieve very similar results using a feature called Active Hours that’s already built into Windows 10. Essentially, you can tell the operating system the hours when you’re most likely to be using the computer so it won’t restart during those hours. We have a full primer on using Active Hours if you’re unfamiliar with the service.